Devotional May 11, 2020
Remember the days when everyone had not one, but several paper road maps somewhere in their car? You probably had one of the entire United States, one of your home state, and then if you were planning a road trip or vacation you would go and purchase one for whatever state you were going to be visiting. Then came the advent of the internet and we were given Mapquest. Instead of needing all those maps, you simply got on your computer before you left and typed in the address of your destination. Then you printed out the turn by turn directions on a piece of paper and that essentially served as your map for getting you to your destination. Today, both paper maps and printing off directions from Mapquest have gone the way of the dinosaur. Now, you have a cell phone with a driving directions app on it and GPS location. You just plug in your destination and a disembodied voice will tell you exactly where and when to turn. You no longer are looking at the entire journey beforehand and internalizing exactly when the next turn or exit or merge is coming, you simply listen to the voice on the phone or GPS and turn when they tell you.
The Bible is full of stories of people who are given a task by the Lord, told what the end result will be in some form, and then have to navigate all kinds of difficult circumstances in order to arrive at the end result. One such example is David. We see David anointed by Samuel at the command of God to be the next king of Israel. Most scholars believe that he was somewhere between the ages of 8 and 15 years old when this took place. The prevailing belief is that he was then somewhere around 22 years old when he killed Goliath, and according to 2 Samuel 5:4 we see that “David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.” So from the time that David learned he was to eventually be king of Israel to the time when he saw the fulfillment of God’s plan was a good number of years.
David was given a glimpse of the destination. He would be king. He wasn’t told how he would get there, what obstacles he would face, what victories he would win, what circumstances would threaten to overwhelm him. We get a glimpse into David’s struggle with the journey to the destination as we read through the Psalms. David often cries out and laments to the Lord about the things and enemies surrounding him. He learns to trust in God as his “hiding place,” his “rock,” his “shield,” his “defender,” and any other number of roles he attributes to the Lord during this period of time in his life. To give you an idea of what David experienced between the time he was first anointed by Samuel and when he took the throne, here are just some of the circumstances he faced.
- He is enlisted into Saul’s service to play the lyre to soothe the king.
- He was loved by Saul and accepted into the king’s household.
- He faced and killed Goliath
- He became friends with Jonathan, Saul’s son
- Saul becomes jealous of David’s fame and tries to kill him with a spear twice
- David marries Saul’s daughter Michal becoming Saul’s son-in-law
- He is forced to flee when Saul overtly begins to try and kill him
- He is forced to go to the Temple for bread because he had no food
- He flees to a foreign power, then acts insane to escape when he fears for his life.
- He lived in a cave
- People heard, and flocked to him to serve under his command
- All the priests that aided David are killed because they helped him.
- David saves the city of Keilah from the Philistines
- Then has to flee Keilah because they are planning to hand him over to Saul.
- He and his men are pursued through the wilderness by Saul’s forces
- He has an opportunity to kill Saul but refuses to harm God’s anointed.
And it goes on from there. That is just some of what we see in 1 Samuel that David had to go through. I wonder if he would’ve looked on the anointing Samuel gave him in his youth as a blessing if he were given a printout of each and every twist and turn he would have to face in his life? Yet through it all, we see David trusting in God and his provision and his plan. I dare say it was not easy, and at times, as we are privy to see in his writing in the Psalms, he struggled greatly with his circumstances. But, at the end of the day, David came back to one thing over and over, he trusted the Lord and the Lord’s plan.
Each of us are going through difficult circumstances. We have all faced trials and experienced victories and defeats over the course of our lives. We have had days where trusting the Lord comes naturally, and other days where it seems like trusting is the most difficult task set before us. May we learn to follow the example set forth by David in the same way and manner he trusted the Lord.
We have not been anointed king by a prophet of the Lord, but because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we know that we have an eternal destination. We have rest and glory and a face to face celebration with Jesus waiting for us when this life is over. That is our destination. What we have not been given, is the printout of when each turn will happen, or how long each path will run. We are called to trust in the Lord as David did, to trust that the Lord will allow us to arrive at our destination, in His timing and in His way. So we turn when we are told to turn, we wait when we are called to wait on Him, and we trust that each turn and each road we travel is for a purpose to get us to the destination that God has in store for us.